Renting a car for road trips and vacations can cost a pretty penny. You may also need to rent a car while yours is in the shop. Paying for repairs or vacations and trips is expensive enough without the added expense of renting a car.
If you are on a budget, it is essential to get a reasonable rental car price. This article provides five tips for saving money on rental cars.
Joining a rental car rewards program or loyalty program is free and can help you save money on your rental car. They are usually easy to sign up for and take less than five minutes.
One of the perks of loyalty programs is guaranteed vehicle availability. You will also get reward points you can redeem for things like free rentals or free upgrades. Even if you don’t rent cars often, it is still a good idea to join car rental loyalty programs.
Some workplaces and universities offer codes that save you money on rental cars. If you are eligible for a discount based on your university or the company you work for you should take advantage of it.
To figure out if you are eligible for a discount code, check your place of work’s travel site, alumni deals for your university, or your current school’s student benefits page. This can be a great way to get an extra discount on your rental car.
You can Google search coupon codes for your rental car company or use sites like RetailMeNot and SlickDeals. Some codes provide other benefits too, like waiving fees and letting you add extra drivers at no cost.
You can also see if they offer military, AAA, or senior discounts if you are eligible. If you do not qualify for any of these discounts, do not take advantage of them.
AutoSlash is a website that helps you compare the prices of rental cars. With this site, you can reserve a rental car without prepaying for it. That way, if you find a better deal later on, you can switch and go with the cheaper option. AutoSlash will even notify you if a cheaper rate becomes available.
Search for Coupons
Coupons can be stackable for some rental car places. By searching online for coupon codes, you can save up to 50% on your rental car. Find as many as you can and try to use more than one.
Take Advantage of Your Credit Card
Some credit cards offer discounts for certain rental car companies. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers discounts up to 25% off National Rentals.
The American Express Platinum Card also gives good benefits for rental cars. Using this credit card can help you get a discounted rate, bonus reward points, and free car upgrades. Even if you don’t have either of these credit cards, you can still check if your credit card has similar benefits.
Once you find a rental car that will work for you, don’t book it immediately. Compare rates with other rental car companies and compare the car you chose with other available cars.
Sites like Priceline, Kayak.com, and CarRentals.com allow you to compare prices from different car rental companies.
Sign up for AAA
AAA offers roadside assistance and other services. As mentioned before, some rental companies offer a discount if you have AAA. If you are already signed up, great! Be sure to mention this when you rent a car.
Bundle your car rental with your flight or hotel
Booking your car rental as part of a package can help you save money on vacation and trips. If you already plan to fly or stay at a hotel, you can combine them and save money.
Transfercar lists vehicles that need to be driven to another location. This can only be used for one-way trips, but it is a great way to rent a car for cheap or even free.
Renting a car is expensive, but you can save a lot of money if you follow the above tips.
The price offered for rental cars is not always the price you end up paying. Because of fees, waivers, etc., the low price you saw initially gets higher and higher. This makes renting a car not only expensive, but also confusing. The tips listed above can help you save money on your rental car.
Image by Devon Janse van Rensburg.